Well, First things first Chubby ain’t Chubby no more! Nope, that’s one thing since the debut album came out. Frontman has become a lean mean frontman machine and he looks the picture of health as a result and tie that in with the super vibrant sleeve artwork you just know you’ve done something right picking up this bad boy.
Seeing as you asked nicely I got the gatefold album with the lyric book and the 3D artwork n glasses – and very nice they are as well. I trust Speed didn’t kill you after all? At least some haven’t been twiddling their thumbs during the lockdowns Chubbys got match fit and brought a bag full of tools, sorry tunes to do this job properly.
Now the main course is fifteen varied tunes from the real world of Charlie ‘Chubby’ Manning and his band of merry men and woman. The Mutt’s Fuckin Nuts (what it should have been called) gets underway with a throbbing pulsating barnstorming title track ‘The Mutt’s Nut’. Sure it takes off exactly where ‘Speed Kills’ took us and that 100 miles an hour stories of the streets walked by Chubby and The Gang. ‘It’s Me Who’ll Pay’ is a supercharged boogie-woogie with plenty of tasty guitar licks for good measure. But hang on kids it’s not all NWOBHC because ‘Coming Up Tough’ has a Malcolm Young riff nailed to a Powerage backbeat and bass throb and what an excellent slab of hobnailed pub Rock it is too. The subtle melody and backing vocals are a joy that shows these yobs have depth as well as talent.
I don’t think Charlie and co give a flying fuck for pigeon holes and have indeed expanded their sound and are dancing behind the beat if it so needs it and they show restraint and plenty of style on this big second album. You get a sense that Charlie knows who he is and what his band are about and will dance to his own tune and by adding songs like ‘Take Me Home To London’ and the closing ‘I Hate The Radio’ shows there are many strings to the Chubby Bow and the passion is loud and clear especially on the heartfelt ‘Take Me Home’ like a barroom modern-day Billy Bragg with attitude. These slower (dare I say It) mature numbers sit really well amongst the more familiar swift kick to the coin purse tunes you might expect. Especially the slow grinding blues of ‘White Rags’ that’s lashed to the wild n reckless ‘Overachiever’.
The excitement is amped up on the harmonica honking rocket ride of ‘Someone’s Gunna Die’ and the equally out of control thumper ‘Getting Beat Again’ but as we head into the home straight we go on a jazzy little ditty of ‘Lifes Lemons’ that commits to the rollercoaster feel of the record as it climbs up then gently drops before heading for the biggun or so you think but the organ just rolls on and the guitars pick their way to the end through the shimmering crash cymbals to ‘Lightning Don’t Strike Twice’ and after its false opening it’s slide guitars galore as we slam on to the final hurrah and album highlight and fine backbeat bedfellow to the Libertines best work through a Ray Davies style pop song and then we’re done. fifteen songs that fly by in a brave yet safe space. Chubby & The Gang have the world at their feet, It’s theirs if they want it and as long as they keep writing records packed with top tunes then I’m in and I’ll enjoy this one for the next twelve months and then we can all get together and do this again. Fuckin’ top record get it!
Author: Dom Daley